Premier League • England

Liverpool brutally told one player will cost them the league, but ‘agreed’ January deal can spare Klopp’s blushes

Liverpool duo Darwin Nunez and Alexis Mac Allister

Former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson believes one player could cost the Reds a shot at the Premier League title this year, though news of a transfer agreement being reached could spare Jurgen Klopp’s blushes.

A full-scale midfield rebuild was sanctioned at Anfield in the off-season, with that area of the pitch costing the club dearly last year.

Four new faces arrived to the tune of £146m. However, but for the lure of Chelsea, Liverpool’s outlay would’ve been far higher.

Indeed, the Reds saw a whopping £110m bid for Moises Caicedo accepted by Brighton. The Ecuador destroyer only had eyes for Chelsea, however, who thundered in with an even higher £115m offer.

Ultimately, Liverpool moved for Wataru Endo and landed Ryan Gravenberch on deadline day. Endo is the only naturalised holding midfielder of the quartet to arrive, though has generally been overlooked for selection in the league.

Instead, Jurgen Klopp has regularly selected Alexis Mac Allister in the deeper role. It’s a position the Argentine can play, though won’t be what he or Klopp had in mind when his transfer crossed the line.

Mac Allister’s playmaking abilities shine through when in the position. However, his lack of defensive nous, combined with his lack of physicality means he has been exposed at times.

Now, in quotes carried by the Liverpool Echo, ex-Reds right-back, Glen Johnson, claimed Liverpool won’t win the league with Mac Allister anchoring the midfield.

But until January at least, it appears the Argentine will continue to be the one selected by Klopp for the role.

Mac Allister sacrifice admirable, but not ideal – Johnson

“I kind of feel sorry for Mac Allister a little bit,” said Johnson. “He’s obviously been asked to do something he’s not completely comfortable with and he’s doing a job for the team.

“It’s great that he’s willing to do that, but to be title contenders you can’t have too many players playing out of position and I don’t think he was signed to play that role, it’s just what they need at the moment from him.

“I certainly think he’s a better player going forward and he’s got too much attacking ability that’s being wasted by sitting deep and breaking the game up.

“He’s showing great character by sacrificing himself for the benefit of the team, but they need someone more natural in that position if they want to challenge for the title.

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“The holding midfield role is such an important position in modern football. For me, in order to win the league, you need a top goalkeeper and a top holding midfielder.

“The full-backs can only get forward and help attacks if they trust their no.6 to cover for them, the centre backs can only step up and defend aggressively if they have faith in their holding midfielder.

“That player is so important to the team, and particularly in Klopp’s system and Liverpool need to bring in a top player that they can rely on in that position.”

Liverpool agree terms with Andre?

According to one journalist, Liverpool could sign the final piece of the puzzle in January.

Francois Plateau reported Liverpool have struck an agreement on personal terms with Fluminense battler Andre Trindade.

The Brazil international, 22, was courted by the Reds over the summer, though Fluminense would not sell while still involved in the Copa Libertadores.

A swoop in January is expected to produce a different outcome, however, and if personal terms are agreed, settling on a fee with Fluminense will be the next order of business.

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